LAKELAND, Fla. (FOX 13) - A Polk County fire captain, accused of posting photos to Snapchat from the scene of a failed rescue, has now resigned, county officials said Tuesday.
It was back in November when fire broke out at the home of Lorretta Pickard. Recordings of her 911 call revealed the 67-year-old, who relied on a walker, was told to wait for rescuers, but that rescue never happened.
“They know I’m in here, right?” Pickard asked the 911 dispatcher.
“Yes, they know you’re in there. I did let them know,” the dispatcher replied.
The dispatcher continued to comfort Pickard over the phone for 20 minutes until she became unresponsive and succumbed to the fire.
Eventually, firefighters ran out of water at the rural location. As they waited for more to arrive, Capt. James Williams, the man in charge, posted a picture from the scene on Snapchat.
Deputy County Manager Joe Halman Jr. later told FOX 13 that firefighters did try to get Pickard out, but the flames were too intense.
“They couldn’t go in at that point,” Halman responded when asked about the timing of the post.
Williams, who reported a minor burn at the scene, was initially reprimanded for the social media post. He was suspended for 24 hours, essentially losing three days of pay.
Now, a county spokesperson says Williams resigned from the agency as of Tuesday morning.
"This resignation is the result of an internal investigation after the employee was alleged to have posted photos and/or videos taken during emergency response incidents to his personal social media accounts,” Chris Jonckheer wrote. “Taking photographs and/or videos for personal use, and posting them to social media, violate Polk County Employee Handbook policies and procedures and Polk County Fire Rescue’s Standard Operating Procedures.”
An outside investigation into the fire is expected to be complete within six weeks. Until then, county officials are withholding further comment.